Friday, January 21, 2011

Movie Review - Gulliver's Travels

Gulliver's Travel

Starring: Jack Black, Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Amanda Peet, Catherine Tate, Billy Connolly, Chris O'Dowd, and more...

Directed by: Rob Letterman Screenplay by: Joe Stillman and Nicholas Stoller - based on the book by Jonathan Swift

Premise: Realizing his life is going nowhere, Gulliver tries to work himself up to asking out the girl he likes, but instead digs himself into a hole and ends up taking a writing assignment out in the Bermuda Triangle. While traveling to the spot for the article, he's swept away in a giant waterspout and ends up very far away from home.

Review: I'd seen the commercials for this film and seeing the kid humor displayed in them wasn't sure it was for me, despite the fact I like the tale and concept and that Catherine Tate (Donna Noble from Dr Who!)and other fun actors were in it.

While it did have some of the kid humor as shown in the commercials, however, I was glad I went to see it. The film had several things going for it that made it quite enjoyable above and beyond the gags.

The first major thing was that they played a short before the start of the film - Skrat's Continental Crack-up! Yes, Skrat from Ice Age did a short right before the movie! And it was one of the best ones yet. A wonderful explanation of the splitting of the original continent of Pangea :P Too funny. Poor little guy can never catch a break.

The second major thing was the awesome attention to detail in the film. When it begins they do a beautiful rendition of the city with overhead views and everything looks miniaturized. And not in the sense that things are far away and look small, but like made up models and toy cars even as real people walk about. It almost made the 'real' world seem fake, the fantasy, while the land of the Lilliputians the true world.

The costuming, the buildings, the mechanisms in Lilliput were very detailed. The tech all had a very awesome HG Wells feel about it. Pseudo steampunkish in a way. And though we didn't learn much about the society, there was enough there to make the Lilliputian way of life feel real and structured. In some ways their lives are too structured and strict, and here comes a strange visitor who drives all to loosen up a bit and have more fun, in a manner of speaking. The changes you see as the film progresses are interesting, some utterly fun, and a few a little sad.

Not everyone is happy about the changes Gulliver has brought about due to his presence though. Not happy at all!

I appreciated seeing how Gulliver brought with him the means to his own destruction - within himself and without. Of course in the end he comes through, but there were a couple of unexpected twists along the way I very much enjoyed.

Overall the film was entertaining and at times even humorous. And with Skrat doing the lead in, it was definitely worth seeing it.

Rating: 3.5 (4 with Skrat) out of 5 (Hubby: Matinee price w/o Skrat, Full Price with Skrat):P
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